Saturday, August 8, 2009

Carter's Greatest (Online) Hits: Part 5

EDIT: Last Carter Week post that I had originally planned for a couple of weeks ago but got de-railed. No new news on anything else, we're still digesting the new info from this past week and trying to figure out how to make everything work out during surgery and after. So...let's finish the Carter stuff.

Those of you who like picture heavy blogs, not gonna get that here today. It's mostly text, and I don't have time right now to pepper in some photos. Worth the read though.

This was the last, or one of the last, times I wrote about Carter in one of the old blogs. This was still Creatus Maximus, but by that time the company was DOA, nothing was happening really I just still would blog every once in a while. This was last year. By then, Bennett had been born, though Cortical Dysplasias and Infantile Spasms were a long way away.

Life was simpler. Life was...pretty good. Though the irony of that first sentence below is not lost on me. Not one bit.

Written on the Creatus Maximus Grey Matters Blog: Monday, March 31, 2008
I'm lucky when it comes to kids.

I have two awesome boys. Though one has not yet evolved into having what we consider to be a real personality (though he does have some, even at four months) my older son, Carter, is full of it. Personality, I mean.

Loaded with energy and spunk and fire, I sometimes am taken aback at how voraciously he attacks life and lives it. He's definitely not what you would consider a quiet boy, and I like that.

It's been a long winter, without a lot of activities to get that energy directed at things, and Sunday the plan was to get him out of the house and let him run rampant somewhere. Of course, it rained, so I decided to take him to his first movie.

Horton Hears a Who was out, and the kid is coo-coo for Elephants. Loves them. Can't get enough.

The truth is that this wasn't his first movie, but he doesn't actually recall his first one, which was around the 2.5 year mark. But that time he just was bored and kind of disinterested in sitting in a seat and watching a movie all the way through. He watches movies now all the way through (and of course...again and again and again) so I figured OK, now's the time he could go to the movies, sit there and watch it and probably enjoy it. And since a giant Elephant was involved, I figured I couldn't miss.

All morning long he was excited about it, full of life as he is so often. Didn't stop talking about it. Now you might be thinking Oh boy...I'll bet he is going to be pretty hard to control in there, and I'd agree with you. My biggest fear was that we would get there and he would be screaming through the aisles and talking and carrying on and we would not be able to stay.

We arrive at the movie theater and he is blown away by everything. The giant posters of stuff, the huge glass window with the popcorn in it, the people, the sounds. He was having a blast. I picked up some popcorn for him ($4.50 for a small...WTF!?!?) and we walked back to the cinema that was showing the movie, Cinema 8, which is where the usher directed me.

Since Carter was kind of running ahead, I didn't look up at the cinema to see what time the movie was on, just the actual cinema number the usher gave me. So we walk in to the cinema, and I take Carter to a seat. I take his coat, sit him down, get him set up with his popcorn and I notice two things.

The first thing I notice is that the movie is going on. Now I knew I was running late and figured to hit the previews, but it seemed to me after 30 seconds of watching the screen that the movie had been going on a while. My guess was that the usher gave me the wrong cinema number, and we were actually in the wrong showing.


Moving Carter to a new theater might be sort of difficult, and so I was faced with a decision. Keep watching it here, or take him out and go to another showing. But then I noticed the second thing.

My energetic, lively son was sitting very quietly in his seat. Legs up to his chest, face covered by his popcorn. He wasn't making a sound. He was glancing over his shoulder, looking down at the floor, and sometimes looking up at the movie. When he was looking at the movie, he just didn't appear to be getting into it at all.

Hey buddy, you OK?

He looked up at me but wasn't really looking at me directly.

Daddy? Can we go home?

Let's watch some of the movie, OK?

He replied OK very quietly and went back to his stance. At that point I started to realize that he was really freaked out. I'd seen him like this one time before, when we took him to the Rainforest Café, and he got spooked by the animatronic monkeys. He sat in his seat motionless, afraid to look up at the monkeys, and I never had seen anyone that petrified before.

Same situation here, the kid was mortified. I made sure I leaned over really close to him so he knew I was there and maybe would start to feel better, though he never really did. He was so quiet and still it was spooky, and I realized that at this point I was actually lucky that we had been directed to the wrong cinema.

The movie ended and the credits started. Carter, who can recognize credits mean the end, said quietly OK Daddy it's over. Can we go home now? So we got up, got the coats, and left the cinema.

It was weird.

His happy go lucky steps, coming out, did not really return. He was just sort of slinking out into the lobby. Still not looking around much and hiding behind his popcorn. I needed to get his coat on so I sat down in the lobby and asked him about it.

Did you like the movie, Carter?


Why not? You didn't like the elephant?

It was very dark. I was very scary.

Do you want to go see another movie with Daddy?

Nope. I want to go home. Can we go home please?

Sure...let's go home.

And we left, got in the car and drove home. He was pretty quiet on the way, and I just felt awful. Poor little guy. The darkened theater just spooked him, and I'm not sure by walking in to the movie in progress if that contributed to it, or if he would have been weirded out by it even if we got there while the cinema was still kind of lit, then getting dark for the movie itself.

What broke my heart about it was not that he was scared, I get it, but what really got me is how embarrassed he seemed, like he didn't really just want to come right out and say I don't like this. He was petrified, and if you have ever seen your own child petrified, it just gets to you.

Oh well...the best laid plans. I'll try again later, maybe ease him into it by turning off the lights on a movie at home. And if not, no big deal, we just won't do movies for a while. We have a nice big TV so I won't need to force it on him.

So instead of watching the Horton movie we watched Ice Age for the 30th trillion time. I spent most of the DVD watching him.

I do that sometimes.

Til' Next Time,

Poor little guy. We tried once more a year later with Carter to see Monsters V. Aliens, but he bailed about 40 minutes in. Didn't like it. Wanted to go home. But it was just a week ago today that Carter went to a movie and had fun, stayed the whole time and expressed any interest in seeing any more movies in the theater.

The movie he just went to was Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. He had a blast, wasn't scared and maybe since his cousin was there with him it sort of took away any of his remaining angst about being there in the dark.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed getting to know my other son a little bit. Don't worry, I'll be cursing up a storm and bitching about how much I hate everything about what's happening around me soon enough. Besides, after a week of all these nice remembrances, I have quite a bit of angst in me that will need to come out...


  1. Our girls were almost 8 or 9 before they liked the theater. Too loud, too dark, too big, etc. Except the popcorn. $10 popcorn tasted just fine to them.

  2. Oh man we took Toby when he was 2 to see Finding Nemo. Petrified is the closest word to describing the effect it had on him! He's 8 now. And somewhere along the way he stopped being so freaked out. Took awhile though.

    It's same Auntie D doesn't live in Africa anymore though. I'd adopt Carter his very own orphan elephant!

    Tembo is Swahili for elephant...just in case you're interested.



  3. I remember this one, you were kind down with his reaction to the whole experience.

    Good to know he liked "Ice Age 3", my brother saw it and hated it, I need to see it for myself to make up my mind, my brother has really bad taste in movies... Well not all bad, he hated "Bruno", but I do seem to remember the fact that he liked "Borat".

    Show you angst at will, just don't become "Angst Man", remember him? After all you're supposed to be "Enigmatic Dr. Tit"

    I still can't believe what you guys pay for movie tickets, and popcorn. But we did have a 150% increase in prices in the last 5 years.

  4. Damn, lol I guess I maybe should re-think the idea of taking KC to a show this summer. He's only 2.5 with some serious sensory issues. I think you might have just saved me some serious humiliation ; )
    Carter is a doll, btw.


  5. I love getting to know both your sons. This was interesting of you to post, because it gives us insight into his personality, and his wanting not to show fear or weakness. Hopefully, you guys can keep him in the loop as much as possible with all Bennett's stuff so that he doesn't feel the need to hide his emotions about it. I only say this because lots of the cancer parents I know with more than one child talk often about all the emotional fallout and stress on the siblings. I would certainly say that IS and the prospect of brain surgery is quite similar. So hopefully, you guys can keep those lines of communication open with him too.

  6. I really enjoyed reading all your Carter posts. And, thanks for the heads up...I've never thought about the movie theater being scary to a small kid. Austin doesn't even watch TV here at home, so I've got a looong time before I have to worry about dropping five bucks on a small popcorn!

  7. Love, LOVE reading about your Carter....Such precious stories you relay...Really takes me back...

    Shawn-Michael turns 28 tomorrow....It goes by in a flash...Believe me...Your writings will keep all of these memories fresh...Such a wonderful history you are making here!!!


  8. Philnjill:
    Yeah, they just don’t know the difference yet. I’m 42 and I think the theater is WAY too loud. Must be showing my age. I saw Trek and thought my ears were going to bleed.

    Tembo huh? I’ll tell him. He still digs the elephants, not sure why.

    I remember Angst Man and many others. Cryin’ shame I didn’t have the cash to make it happen.

    KC's Mama:
    Glad to have saved you the trip. Yeah, Bennett won’t be going to the movies for a LONG time that’s for sure.

    I’m glad. I feel so distant from Carter lately. Sometimes I think I’m losing him.

    Yeah I recommend waiting to take him to a film just yet.

    Thanks, I do hope that at some point in their lives they can look back at all this and get something from it.


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